Way back (!) in 2006, I started collecting news articles about melting glaciers, acid oceans, scary wildfires, & devastating floods. I (& of course a few others) felt that we (humans, collectively) weren’t paying enough attention to the ever-increasing evidence of rapid climate change. My favorite from that year: “If Only Gay Sex Caused Global Warming”; favorite quote from the article:
“Global warming is a deadly threat precisely because it fails to trip the [human] brain’s alarm, leaving us soundly asleep in a burning bed.”
Now, seven years later, we’re finally waking up to the Threat. Or are we??
Some say human lives are lived in seven year cycles. So maybe we’re entering one in which we (all 7 billion of us) actually (collectively) try to do something concrete (excuse the word…) to put the brakes (good heavens…another driving metaphor!) on rapid climate change. I admit I’m not hopeful (yeah, curmudgeon that I am)… I only have to look in the rear-view mirror to see why this is a challenging proposition.
I’m also not enthusiastic about the ‘fighting’ words being popularized right now in talk of climate change. As in World War C (- for Carbon, not Car, which I might find more appealing-) or the war on warming or the fight against climate change. On the other hand, wrestling with the enemy often gets those human juices flowing. It’s just that the Bad Guy in this case is a little hard to pin down.
& of course, climate change isn’t a bad guy at all…it’s just our home planet, doing the only thing it can do to adjust to what’s going on with it’s smoggy atmosphere, it’s salty oceans, it’s shifting continents, & it’s struggling lifeforms, mostly in response to the excesses of it’s multitudinous human primate party animal. In the end (well hopefully not really The End), we’re the ones who will have to do the adjusting, along with whatever other plant & animal (etc) life manages to survive the Big Warming & it’s sibling, the Sixth Extinction.
I’m glad there are changes afoot. Don’t get me wrong – imho, they won’t be enough to forestall these already seriously advanced BW & 6E trends. But like I said, at least we’re now paying attention. & I do believe in incrementalism. A walk here, a carpool there, more-fuel efficient vehicles, making sure there’s enough water for C-loving plants (not to mention more trees & bees), empowered women with access to free & easy-to-use birth control, turning the thermostat down (or up, as will most likely be the case), green buildings which go up-not-out, etc. We know we have to change how we do things, but most of us don’t yet have the tools or the will or the resources to make our human lives fit with what we know. & like that smart-guy Einstein said: the significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.
The coming century will be interesting. I have hope in human ingenuity & adaptability, &, also, I worry that our grandchildren will really wonder what we were thinking.
Or not thinking.
No doubt there will be some serious eye-rolling at our human ability to dream our lives away as the bed burned.
I don’t think we are on a brink – this is just part of a cycle. We are adapting. One thing we are learning is that we do not control the planet. We must respect the planet and everyone on it. I know that sounds a little trite – but we all must learn how to live here with a positive influence in our lives. You have set a wonderful example.
thanks for your comment, john. most scientists believe, however, that this is not a normal cycle of our ever-changing earth. what’s difficult for many of us is not knowing what we can do about it, beyond these small, mostly ineffectual changes in our mostly (relatively speaking) extravagant lifestyles. so the bed goes on burning, & we (mostly) dream on.
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